Ronnie Gajown has been hired as manager of the Hillsboro Hops, becoming the first woman to manage a minor league Class High-A team. Taylor Jackson/Arizona Diamondbacks via AP

Ronnie Gajownik has been hired as manager of the Hillsboro Hops, becoming the first woman to manage a minor league Class High-A team, Arizona announced.

The 29-year-old Gajownik (pronounced Gah-jow-nick) served as video coordinator for the Hops in 2021. She was on the coaching staff of the Amarillo Sod Poodles, the Diamondback’s Double-A affiliate, last season as first-base coach.

Rachel Balkovec became the first woman to manage a professional baseball team last year when she led the New York Yankees’ Class A Tampa Tarpons.

Gajownik was a two-year starter on South Florida’s softball team and also won a gold medal with the United States in the 2015 Pan American Games.

The Diamondbacks also hired coaches Ronald Ramirez, Gabriel Hernandez and Ty Wright, as well as trainer Haruki Mukohchi and strength coach Ryan Harrel for Hillsboro’s staff.

Mike Trout, who hit 40 home runs and 80 RBI last season despite missing time with an upper back and ribcage injury, said his back is not a problem as he prepares for the 2023 season. Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

ANGELS: Mike Trout feels pain-free as the start of spring training approaches.


The Los Angeles Angels’ three-time AL MVP was sidelined between July 12 and Aug. 19 last year by an injury to his upper back and ribcage. After returning, he hit .308 with 16 homers and 29 RBI in 40 games for an overall season batting average of .283 with 40 homers and 80 RBI in 119 games.

The 31-year-old 10-time All-Star is the captain of the U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic and will report to spring training by Feb. 16.

“The back’s been a non-issue for the past four months,” Trout said during a conference call Friday. “I felt a little bit when I came back during the season last year and then I’ve been on top of it pretty well and just keeping the same routine in the weight room, just a warmup and making sure all the back muscles around it is strong.”

The U.S. team will try to defend its 2017 WBC title (the 2021 tournament was called off because of the pandemic). The road to that starts when players report to the Phoenix area on March 6, then play exhibitions in Arizona against the San Francisco Giants on March 8 and the Angels on March 9.

The Americans open World Baseball Classic play against Britain on March 11 as part of a first-round group that includes Mexico, Canada and Colombia.

TWINS: Minnesota traded reigning AL batting champion Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins for a three-player package featuring starting pitcher Pablo López.


The 25-year-old Arraez had a breakout season for Minnesota last year, making his first All-Star team while batting a league-best .316 and denying Aaron Judge a Triple Crown. The New York Yankees star led the AL in home runs and RBI.

Arraez is a multi-positional player who spent most of his time at first base for the Twins last year, starting 61 games there, 34 at designated hitter and 31 at second base. He has also played extensively at third base and left field.

The Twins also received two prospects from the Marlins: infielder Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio. Salas was picked as Miami’s fifth-best prospect in the most recent MLB Pipeline rankings.

CUBS: Trey Mancini and Chicago finalized a two-year contract.

Mancini, a cancer survivor, helped the Houston Astros win the World Series last season after arriving Aug. 1 from Baltimore in a three-team trade that included Tampa Bay.

He struggled at the plate with Houston and finished the season batting .239 with 18 home runs, 63 RBI and a .710 OPS overall for the Orioles and Astros. He was pressed into service late in Game 5 of the World Series against Philadelphia when Gold Glove first baseman Yuli Gurriel sprained his right knee, and Mancini – playing in the field for the first time in a month – turned in a terrific defensive play that helped the Astros hold on for a 3-2 victory.


Mancini, who turns 31 in March, brings a right-handed bat with power and could be a primary option at designated hitter for the Cubs. He plays first base and the corner outfield spots, also giving Chicago a potential platoon partner for new first baseman Eric Hosmer, a left-handed hitter.

In five-plus major league seasons, Mancini is a .265 career hitter with 125 home runs and a .787 OPS.

The Cubs have been busy after going 74-88 in their second straight losing season. They also added Gold Glove shortstop Dansby Swanson, right-hander Jameson Taillon, outfielder Cody Bellinger, reliever Brad Boxberger and catcher Tucker Barnhart.

PIRATES: Andrew McCutchen is back where he once belonged.

The five-time All-Star centerfielder finalized a $5 million, one-year deal to return to the Pittsburgh Pirates, nearly five years to the day after Pittsburgh sent him to San Francisco in a cost-cutting measure.

McCutchen served as the centerpiece for Pittsburgh’s brief return to contention nearly a decade ago. He won the National League’s MVP Award in 2013, a season that marked the start of a three-year run in which the Pirates reached the playoffs as a wild card.


The 36-year-old has bounced around professionally since being traded to San Francisco but has maintained a home in Pittsburgh. He spent 2022 with Milwaukee, hitting .237 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI.

UMPIRES: Alan Porter and Adrian Johnson became MLB’s second and third Black umpire crew chiefs as the league announced 10 retirements along with promotions from the minors.

Tom Hallion and Ted Barrett are retiring, the commissioner’s office said, joined by Marty Foster, Greg Gibson, Jim Reynolds, Jerry Meals, Sam Holbrook, Bill Welke, Paul Nauert and Tim Timmons.

Porter, 45, made his big league debut in 2010 and joined the permanent staff in 2013. Johnson, 47, worked his first major league game in 2006 and became a full-time big league umpire in 2010.

Kerwin Danley was the first Black crew chief in 2020. He retired after the 2021 season.

Lance Barksdale, Dan Bellino, Chris Conroy, James Hoye and Todd Tichenor also were promoted to crew chief.


SUSPENSIONS: Arizona pitcher Jose Valdez was suspended for 120 games under baseball’s minor league drug program following a positive test for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.

Valdez was disciplined for the second time under the drug program following a 60-game suspension last Feb. 4, also following a positive test for Stanozolol. He has not pitched in a Dominican Summer League game since 2021.

This was the first suspension of the year under the major and minor league programs.

There were 50 suspensions last year under the minor league drug program and seven under the major league drug program: San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games; Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejía and Brewers catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games each; Baltimore pitcher Matt Harvey for 60 games; and free agent outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodríguez and infielder José Rondón for 80 games apiece.

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